A Case Study of Transversely Heated Low-Energy Helium Ions by EMIC Waves in the Plasmasphere

Khan Hyuk Kim, Hyuck Jin Kwon, Junhyun Lee, Ho Jin, Jungjoon Seough

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The Van Allen Probe A spacecraft observed strong ∼0.5-Hz helium (He+) band and weak ∼0.8-Hz hydrogen (H+) band EMIC waves on April 17, 2018, at L = ∼4.5–5.2, in the dawn sector, near the magnetic equator, and close to the plasmapause. We examined low-energy ion fluxes observed by the Helium Oxygen Proton and Electron (HOPE) instrument onboard Van Allen Probe A during the wave interval and found that low-energy He+ flux (<10 eV) enhancements occur nearly simultaneously with He-band and H-band EMIC wave power enhancements in a direction mostly perpendicular to the background magnetic field without significant low-energy H+ and O+ flux variations. We suggest that cold He+ ions (<1 eV) are preferentially and transversely heated up 10 eV through the interaction with EMIC waves inside the plasmasphere. The low-Earth orbit spacecraft observed localized precipitations of energetic protons in the upper ionosphere at subauroral latitudes near the magnetic field footprint of Van Allen Probe A. Our observations provide a clear evidence that EMIC waves play an important role in the overall dynamics in the inner magnetosphere, contributing to the high-energy particle loss and low-energy particle energization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JA028560
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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